The mantra has never changed from Barry Trotz when it comes to his goaltenders. He trusts both of them and Trotz was a man of his word during the Second Round Series against Philadelphia.
Both Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss have seen time in net during the Islanders matchup with the Flyers, and they have come up big when their team needed them. Greiss came into Game 2 in relief and helped the Islanders rally from a 3-0 hole.
He was in between the pipes for Game 4 and was stellar again for the Islanders, turning away 36 shots in his first postseason start of the year.
Varlamov has been sensational for the Islanders through the playoffs, starting 12 of the team’s 13 games this summer. His 1.69 goals-against average is one of the best in the league right now and his .935 save percentage isn’t too shabby either. His Game 2 performance aside, he hasn’t missed a beat.
Both have given Trotz plenty of reason to play them, so when it comes to making a choice it’s about the Islanders bench boss trusting his gut.
“It’s getting a feel for the goaltender,” Trotz said ahead of Game 5 on Thursday. “Sometimes the other thing I look at is an opponent for certain people and a little bit of history. Those three components go in and if a guy is in a rhythm. I think both of our guys have a really good rhythm.
“To be honest with you, I don’t think I can make a poor choice based on the way both have provided us goaltending through the playoffs.”
Trotz did not indicate who will be in net for Game 5. Greiss got the nod on Sunday night in part because they were playing the second game of a back-to-back.
Varlamov started in Game 3.
What helps as well for the Islanders is the fact that the players in front of them can play the same game regardless of who is in net. Ryan Pulock acknowledged there were slight differences between the two, but the confidence level is high with both.
“It doesn’t really matter. Both have been great,” Pulock said. “They play the puck a little bit different. Their style are a little bit different, but it doesn’t really change for us as defensemen how we go about doing things.”